Industry Focus

Trade, Labour and Training


The Australian pork industry is the only food industry operating in a global market in the true sense. The industry competes in the export arena, with markets in Asia, and products are imported into Australia from North America and Europe.

There is huge potential to exploit growing demand for pig meat. Over several years, APL has taken part in the Australian Government’s industry consultations to negotiate FTAs with our major trade partners to reduce tariff and non-tariff barriers to provide greater export opportunities.

APL provided these submissions on behalf of the industry to progress our trade interests:

APL’s Submission on proposed Canadian participation in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP)

Supplementary submission regarding the Trans-Pacific Partnership

For further information, please contact the APL Policy Division on 1800 789 099.


China Market Access

APL commissioned research into the commercial demand for Australia pork in China – the world’s largest pork market. The report, China’s Market for Australian pork, presents and analyses the results of a survey of Chinese importers. It provides further context on China’s market conditions and trade policy directions.

China’s market for Australian pork



APL acknowledges that pig producers may have experienced difficulties in recruiting qualified people at all levels of employment within the industry. Lack of staff can mean lower pig productivity, risk to occupational health and safety and an impact on pig welfare. Worker shortages have been a large challenge to production, with some producers forced to rely on casual labour. There are ways to find alternative labour strategies that APL has investigated on your behalf including labour agreements.

Labour agreements provide a standard template for the employment of overseas workers with skills relevant to the pork industry. Having a template labour agreement in place means that there is now a pre-existing set of terms and conditions for sponsored employment under a Temporary Work (Skilled) visa (subclass 457). This allows skilled workers to come to Australia and work for an approved business for up to four years.

The main requirements are:

  • Qualification equivalent to AQF III in Agriculture (Pig Production) and three years’ experience, or at least five years’ experience in the pig industry
  • Overseas workers will be provided a salary (market salary rate or the Temporary Skilled Migration Income Threshold (TSMIT), whichever is the greater for a 44 hour working week rather than a standard 38 hour working week
  • That the employer meet the training requirements for the Temporary Work (Skilled) visa program (457 visa) by either:
    • Paying the equivalent of at least two per cent of payroll expenditure to an industry training fund; or
    • Paying the equivalent of at least one per cent of payroll expenditure on the training of Australian workers and permanent residents employed by the business
  • That overseas workers may transition to a permanent visa if they have held a 457 visa in the occupation of Senior Stockperson (Piggery) for a minimum period of four years.

Pork Industry Template Agreement

Application process for Pork industry labour agreement

Information on the pork industry labour agreement

Requesting a labour agreement

Using Migration Agents information


The National Farmers Federation (NFF) and APL, have developed a checklist to provide guidance to producers when employing workers or contactors. The aim is to help protect producers when engaging workers or contractors by making sure they have relevant documentation in place and to demonstrate that they have asked the right questions.

The checklist will help to ensure:

  • workers have a legal right to work;
  •  employers and workers and are informed of their rights;
  • safety risks are managed in accordance with relevant laws with appropriate insurance policies in place;
  • skills and training are provided as appropriate; and,
  • records are kept and pay slips are provided as required.

Checklist templates are below.

Labour contracting principles

Sustainable contracting principles

For further information, please contact the APL Policy Division on 1800 789 099.



For a list of state Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) able to offer pork production training, please click here.


Pigs in Space II – FREE online classroom to support staff training

A number of producers have identified that the industry is in need of an online training tool to support training their staff.

Producers identified a number of benefits from the development of an electronic classroom:

  1. It would overcome the problems of being located regionally – a prohibitive distance from the nearest provider of registered training
  2. It would overcome the problems with having staff leave my high health farm and potentially bring back a disease-causing pathogen to infect my herd
  3. It would remove any occupational health and safety risks from having staff travel long distances to attend face-to-face training
  4. It would allow my staff to access quality training at a distance, at my convenience

APL together with Trish Holyoake Consulting and GoTafe has developed a FREE online classroom to support staff training. Click here to access the four units and work through them at your own pace.  Simply enter “guest” into the username and password.

There is an opportunity to progress your training to Certificate III in Pork Production, at a small cost. For more information contact Christine Nicholas at GoTafe on her email address